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Archive for August, 2010

I’m starting to think my doctor is a bit of a prick.

You see, he’s decided to follow up my three weeks without dairy with a week without alcohol. Yes, a whole week. It’s all because of these antibiotics he’s put me on.

“But not being able to drink alcohol while on antibiotics is one of those old wives’ tales like ‘if you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back’!” I can hear some of you saying.

Well, for one thing, if you step on your mother’s bum crack, you probably will break her back. Just saying.

And for another, while most antibiotics mix quite nicely with alcohol, these antibiotics I’ve been put on do not. These are special antibiotics with the unfortunate name of ‘Flagyl’ – a name that, quite frankly, puts my mind on spin dry. Not only does it make me think of ‘self-flagellate’ (an act which curiously mirrors the concept of a week without wine), it also sounds like ‘flatulence’ – which, rather neatly, is one of the ailments the antibiotics are trying to cure me of. Plus ‘Flagyl’ is simply one of those words that sounds much ruder than it actually is, like ‘flange’, ‘cockney’ and ‘fuck knuckle’. But I digress.

The long and the short of it is this: I will vomit if I drink alcohol whilst on Flagyl. And no, that’s not ‘trough loads of mixed spirits’ (which will also make me vomit), it’s any alcohol, no matter how small the amount. Which makes me wonder what kind of antibiotic does that to a person? I mean, is Flagyl even an antibiotic at all? Or is it some kind of Clockwork Orange-type medical intervention staged by concerned friends and family to stop me drinking so much? And if that’s the case, you’d think an intervention would at least earn me a brief residential stay in some drying-out facility far far away from the laundry and washing up. I feel cheated.

Incidentally, my doctor also sent me off for further blood tests along with some explanation about “blah blah blah geo mutations blah blah”. If you’re wondering what the “blah blah” bits were, your guess is as good as mine because I was too busy wondering if having a geo mutation would mean I was going to be able to spring knives out of my fingers like Wolverine. That’d be way-cool – and also quite handy when it came to freeing Fisher Price toys from their packaging shackles and keeping Genghis Cat in line.

In any case, I’m consoling myself with the fact that at least I can eat dairy food again. My life without dairy was a grim one. I spent most of my days fantasising about a giant dish of cauliflower cheese covered with breadcrumbs that had been pan fried in butter and then tossed with more cheese and accompanied with a pint glass of whipped cream. Except now that I can eat all these things, I’m probably going to leave the cauliflower out because it only makes me fart and that would earn me another week on the Flagyl. Also, cauliflower is not dairy.

In the meantime, I’m hoping my Wolverine finger-knives are good and ready for my next doctor’s appointment. Apparently his next trick, if the Flagyl doesn’t work, is to put me on two weeks without gluten. And as one of my friends once said, “I don’t know what gluten is but I must really really like it because, quite frankly, food tastes crap without it.”

My doctor, in his defence, says that ‘exclusion diets’ are the new black. And he’s right. They are black – as in ‘black is the colour of my soul right now’.

*Sigh*

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Dear Readers,

I’ll admit that I had to check on dictionary.com whether this was Not Drowning, Mothering‘s ‘biannual’ or ‘biennial’ . Both sounded too close to ‘bi-anal’ for comfort, but you can’t argue with Mother English.

In any case, today marks two years since I opened a WordPress account and started writing. 446 posts, approximately 223,000 words and 7,121 comments later, I’m still here.

To help celebrate this momentous occasion, I invite you all to share your favourite Not Drowning, Mothering post in the comments below. A loose description using key words (i.e. ‘vomit’, ‘Hugh Jackman’ or ‘lactating asian babes’) would be suffice – I will provide the link.

I thank you all for your valued readership and remain, as always, your humble blogging servant,

The NDM

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Dear McCann Sydney,

It has been some months since your initial call over the interwaves for ‘Australian Mum Bloggers‘.

I, along with half a zillion ‘Australian Mum Bloggers’, dusted off my CV and sent it off, in the hope of one day making an honest buck from what I love doing most (other than sleeping).

I was excited. After all, I loved that you were looking for someone with “proven experience in the online content space”. It made me walk around muttering ‘Online Content Space: the New Frontier’ to myself for a few days. I was even tempted to include in my application a photo of me sitting at my computer, wearing Spock ears and maybe, just maybe, one of those Seven Of Nine outfits that’d make my breasts look like they were about to start their own blog. But I didn’t.

Perhaps, in hindsight, I should have. You see, I recently found out that some other ‘Australian Mum Bloggers’ had already received rejection letters from you weeks ago.

Me? I’ve received nothing. Nothing.

I mean, don’t you know who I am?

For one thing, you might think I’m just some sad pathetic housewife who likes to write about menstrual accidents. And yes, I am that, but I’m also a sad pathetic housewife who dislikes rejection so much that she will try to pass off a bruise on her leg as the image of Jesus Christ. Remember this, McCann.

For another thing, I know people. Important people. Why, one of my friends won a Creative Emmy just the other day (it’s the same as an Emmy except the statuette apparently comes with its own hand-crocheted cover). Although, having said that, when I tweeted about my friend winning the Creative Emmy on Twitter, nobody seemed to care. Perhaps it had something to do with me also tweeting at the same time about my cat splatter-crapping all over the carpet. People were a bit more concerned about the state of the carpet and the colour of the shit than they were about the Creative Emmy. And me, being me, I went and told my friend that my cat’s shit was evidently more interesting than his Creative Emmy so he might not actually be my friend any more. Still, he said he’d let me have my photo taken with his statuette so my plan is to start claiming I’m a Creative Emmy Award Winning Blogger and make all you McCann folk regret having put my McCV in your McBin and missed your McChance with my McWriting Genius. Are you following me, McCann?

But actually, now that I think more on the subject, my cat is probably the most effective weapon I have at my disposal.

So let me conclude this letter by saying this: I have a splatter-crapping arsehole of a cat who will fuck your soft furnishings up big time.

You have been warned.

Yours sincerely, etc.

The NDM

cc. The Age Online. You’re next.

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Eight years ago, I turned up at a hospital in London to be induced, armed with whale song CDs, aromatherapy massage oils and my birth plan.

“Here is my birth plan!” I said, handing a copy to the midwife on duty, as if I were Moses handing down the Ten Commandments.

The midwife smiled slightly and stuffed the plan away in my file without even looking at it. She probably already knew what I was yet to discover: the baby didn’t give a flying proverbial if I wanted to have drug-free birth on all fours like a cow. The baby had plans of his own and, it turned out, those plans mostly involved staying exactly where he was, thank you very much.

Indeed, twenty-eight agonising hours later – two hours of which were spent with the Oxytocin dial turned up to eleven – the baby had yet to make an appearance.

This is the point where the doctors revealed their own birth plan for me and my baby. A team of medical professionals began waving legal documents under my nose for me to sign while another team shaved my nether regions. Before I knew it I was being wheeled away from my birthing suite and all dreams of a drug-free cow birth, my aromatherapy oils unopened and my whale song CD cast aside. Turns out obstetric surgeons don’t like to listen to whale song while they operate. 

In the operating theatre, the failed epidural I’d been given during my labour was upgraded to a failed spinal block and the operating surgeon kindly requested that I stop moving my legs while he operated. This, in turn, forced my anaesthetist to upgrade her assessment of me from “Whinging Bitch With A Low Pain Threshold” to “Possible Medical Malpracdtice Suit” and she offered to put me under general anaesthetic whenever I gave the word.

Must… See…Baby...” I said, through the pain.

And then suddenly, there he was. My Mr Justice, held aloft and bathed in golden light. (My husband to this day denies that there was any golden light but he obviously wasn’t on the right drugs).

“Quick! Someone help me deliver the uterus,” I heard the surgeon say.

Doesn’t he mean the placenta? I thought vaguely to myself, as the pulling and tugging behind the curtain became so intense I became convinced the surgeon was pulling out my lower intestine like scarves out of a hat. Turns out that my uterus had gone ‘boggy’ – which is another way of saying it had started ‘haemorrhaging like a bastard’ – and needed to be  ‘massaged’, although, sadly, not with my aromatherapy massage oils.

Since I didn’t really want to see my uterus held aloft and bathed in golden light, I turned to the anaesthetist.

Put… Me… Under,” I hissed and then everything went black. Four hours later, I awoke, alone in the recovery area, seemingly intact.

“Where’s my baby?” I panicked and, with as much authority as a woman sporting compression stockings and a pubic mullet could muster, I demanded to be taken to him.

I needn’t have panicked. Back in the ward, my husband was in control of the situation. Braving the nervous giggles and strange looks of onlooking medical staff, he had taken his shirt off to give our baby the skin-to-skin contact I had taken such care to include in my birth plan.

At least someone paid attention to the fucking plan, I thought, somewhat despondently.

But listen. While the birth wasn’t what I had planned or wanted, the baby and I were both alive. And that, in my opinion, is what’s called a result.

And a lesson for me, too. The journey we’ve shared together as mother and son hasn’t always gone the way I planned or wanted – from controlled crying, to buying Wiggles albums, to fast food, to shoot-‘em-up computer games. But as a parent, you can’t always stick to The Plan and there’s not much point beating yourself up when you don’t.

Today, my first born, with his shining eyes and his ready laugh – and who, incidentally, is still bathed in golden light – is turning eight years old.

Happy birthday, Mr Justice.

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I’ll make no secret of it: I love voting. It makes me feel unspeakably happy to be in the bosom of my local community at the local school with the smell of burnt sausages wafting gently on the breeze. This is democracy at work, I think to myself, as I gaze affectionately at the long queue of locals exercising their democratic right – albeit under threat of heavy fines and possible jail sentences if they don’t.

Each time, I walk home, as if on air – “high on democracy”, if you will. And then a few hours later, the polling booths shut and the count begins and I begin to feel anxious. It’s like the nation has gone into labour and I’m waiting to hear news of the birth.  And it’s at this point, I start to drink.

I started last Saturday’s Election Night by mixing myself a cocktail. It was one part vodka, two parts champagne, two parts cloudy apple juice with a sprinkling of fresh mint. I called it ‘Cloudy Outcome’ – you know, on account of all the ‘too close to call’ predictions and the inclusion of cloudy apple juice and that. And not, as my husband later suggested, because it had resembled a ‘cloudy discharge’. My husband, ladies and gentlemen. My husband.

Personally, I love a themed cocktail night almost as much as I love voting. One of my favourite birthdays ever was spent with my husband and just three friends making 9/11-themed cocktails. My dear friend Mr B ended the night with a blue curacao-based concoction so vile that we had to name it ‘An Attack On Civilisation’.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I didn’t quite get to the ‘Attack on Civilisation’ point on Election Night. This was partly because I was alone, save the company of my seven year old son who was looking at the ABC predictions like they were football scores. (“Aw, Mum! The Liberal party scored another goal and are now only nine points behind!”). But the main reason was there are only so many different cocktails you can make with a rather limited liquor cabinet before you start experimenting with “Port’n’Lemonade Spritzers”. Also, the fresh mint may or may not have been infused with cat piss and tasted fucking rank. Fact.

Here’s how my Election Night drinking went: After the rather desperately named ‘Electini’ (pineapple juice, vodka, champagne), I moved onto drinking straight champagne with the occasional vodka chaser. I called it ‘Election Night Anxiety Disorder’. And then, when I ran out of vodka, it was just plain champagne. I called that ‘The Demise Of Champagne Socialism’. And then I just drank water. I called that ‘Hung(over) Government Avoidance Strategy Drink Thingy’. You have to understand that I was quite drunk by this stage.

All the while, I was thinking of my friend AnnieG, who, according to her Facebook status, was planning to either make a ‘Big-Eared Bastard’ (“with strategically placed lime slices”) or a ‘Ginger Kick’, depending on the outcome. Since neither party managed to form a government, my guess is she had to settle for a ‘Well-Hung Ginger Bastard’ in the end.

Which I might have settled for myself if my (red-headed) husband hadn’t been at work. So instead, I took two Panadeine and went to bed in the hope that when I woke in the morning everything would be allllllllll righhhhhhhht.

For the record, it wasn’t.

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My husband and I spent our honeymoon treading water outside a swim-up bar in a resort. Fact.

We’d never had a holiday like it and we’ve never had one since. It was pure R&R – we ambled lazily between bed, buffet, beach, bar and back to bed and were left wanting for nothing. It was the perfect way to de-stress after our wedding – at least for me, that is. My husband had himself a bad case of scabies and spent all day and night itching like fuck, but that’s neither here or there. *I* had a great time and, as we all know, it’s All About Me.

At the time, I remember thinking the resort would be the perfect place to come for a family holiday. But now that I’ve been initiated into the Parent Hood, I’m not so sure.

For one thing, while I haven’t seen anything formally in writing, I expect Social Services frowns upon tying your children’s swimming rings in a row behind you (like so many ducklings) at the swim-up bar, while you knock back absinthe-based cocktails with names like ‘Monkey Gland’ and ‘Sweaty Bollocks’.

For another thing, something like the ‘Kids Club’ might seem an ideal way of claiming some ‘Me Time’, but the cost of sending three kids for the day? You might as well be sending them to a Swiss Finishing School. Although I have to say that I’ve long-since been planning to sew a special suit for my kids so that they look like conjoined triplets and get in for the cost of one child. The age differences would take some explaining but I could probably say I was in labour for over six years and squeezed them out in two year intervals… which, now that I really think about it, might garner me some sympathy over at the Sunset Bar in the form of a complimentary cocktail served in an ice bucket with an extra long swirly straw and half a pineapple stuck on the side. Yes, I’m an Ideas Person.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “A family holiday isn’t about the selfish pursuit of relaxation (i.e. drinking) but about creating special family ‘together time’ away from the stresses and strains of everyday living.”

Sure, I love spending time with my family without living in the shadow of the undone dishes, dirty washing and cooking. But as a notorious tight-arse who smuggles her own home-made popcorn into the cinema, I balk at the idea of buying three meals out a day as you invariably do on holiday. When you’re an adult, you can always substitute real food with more alcohol,  but kids need feeding – especially when you have a teenage boy-in-training  like Mr Justice who can work a buffet better than his mother can work a free bar. Of course, if we only paid for one meal a day at the resort buffet, I could get turn all Fagen-esque and train the kids to stuff bread, cold meats and salads into their Conjoined Triplet Suit… Ideas. Always with the ideas…

In any case, the bottom line is this: almost every family holiday we have ever taken has ended with severe car failure, acute vomiting and/or friction burns from swiping our credit card too much. It hardly seems worth it.

Which is why my holiday of choice is getting all three kids asleep in their beds before 9PM and beating a clear path to my arm chair with a large box of Cadbury’s Roses tucked under my arm.

Of course, I’m happy to be proved wrong…

This post is my submission to the Kidspot’s Top 50 Blog Your Way To Dunk Island competition (which you might have guessed by its title). You can vote for me here and help me win a family holiday where I’ll get to jump up and down on a beach in a crocheted bikini, punching the air and alarming innocent onlookers.

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I’ve suspected for a while that my Wii Fit Plus instructor is trying to crack onto me. No, really. Last week, for three Wii Fit sessions in a row, he was all “I didn’t sleep at all well last night…” like he was about to add  “…because I couldn’t stop thinking about you”.

I mean, I must cut a pretty fine figure when exercising in my old foremilk-stained maternity nightie, with all my lovely-jubbly-mummy-bits bouncing up and down. Of course he wants me. He’s only human! Well, admittedly, he’s not human, he’s computer-generated… but still!

Then something strange happened. Just as I thought ‘Mr Fit’ (as I call him) might make his move, the next time I fired up the Wii, the Female Instructor suddenly appeared.

“I’m filling in for your regular trainer today. I hope you don’t mind!” she announced cheerfully, with no explanation to where Mr Fit was.

I felt a little put out. Who did she think she was, marching onto my TV screen uninvited? Then I began to wonder if she and Mr Fit might be a couple – although, judging from the Crying Game-sized bulge in her lycra exercise pants, if they were a couple they’d be a Couple With A Difference. Whatever. It was clear she was definitely checking me out to see why Mr Fit couldn’t stop thinking about me and, to be quite frank, she must have liked what she’d seen because the next day, there she was again, ready and willing to lead me through my Single Leg Twists and Sideways Leg Lifts.

“Where’s Mr Fit???” I shouted angrily at the screen. As much as I didn’t want to encourage his attentions, I also had grown to secretly enjoy them. After all, a woman with my levels of mumsiness is used to being pretty much invisible to adult males that aren’t legally or financially bound to her.

Anyway, it turns out my children had swapped instructors for me when I wasn’t looking. I think they were worried they might end up with a new Cyber-Daddy. I reassured them that I wasn’t interested in ‘Mr Fit’. Not in that way. Especially with his ‘push-pull’ approach to relationships, where he’ll praise me with “Your balance is excellent!” but then immediately reproach me with “Your leg is shaking a little. It’s not good for your back!”. I mean, what’s it going to be, Mr Fit? Is my balance excellent or am I putting my back in danger? Sheesh.

“Also, he doesn’t move his mouth when he talks,” I told them. “It’s unnerving.” I didn’t add that it would probably make him a lousy kisser.

Anyway, in the interests of full disclosure, I told my husband all about Mr Fit being hot for me and the strange Lady-Man who tried to get between us. And then I told him how I was blogging about it but I couldn’t find a single image of Mr Fit on google images. There were plenty of pics of some other male trainer, but not my Mr Fit. It was like he only existed for me…

“I mean, don’t you think it’s strange?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he said, significantly. “I think it’s very, very strange”.

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